Critters in the Garden
One of the great pleasures in my garden is to observe wildlife. As much as I enjoy the plants, the interactions with the animal kingdom and my garden plants make the wild garden an infinitely more interesting place. This is a lot of fun as long as the creatures don't eat the whole plant. In order to attract a greater diversity of birds, frogs, and insects more habitats and plant species need to be in the garden. I often plant specific plants when I want to attract hummingbirds into my garden.
When you click on one of the two Hummingbird links to the right, you will see a beautiful picture of the bird. If you love Hummingbirds as much as I do, you can find a great picture of Hummingbirds.
Contacts between lawns and shrubbery and the shrubs and trees provide a variety of height and cover. It is in these contact zones where the most wildlife activity occurs.
Having a water feature helps bring in a huge number of different creatures. There were quail throughout our neighborhood but none in our yard until I put in a water feature. Then a small covey of quail took up residence under our berry bushes. That covey now has split into several groups.
I put up bird houses, bat houses and mason bee houses. The first year a few birds tried out the birdhouses. Each year there have been more kinds of birds as well as more of each kind. I have not been tagging them so I don't have any way to really know but I expect that the young are returning as well as their parents. I keep putting up more birdhouses to keep up with the population boom. It is much more fun to watch Violet Green Swallows and our local Titmouse parents eating the mosquitoes than swatting them myself.
I like to put in plants that will attract the local butterflies. A butterfly garden can make for a scene of "floating flowers". Even if some of the plants are bruised a bit in the process.
I am very careful about pesticides. I don't spray at all in my garden. And where they are required I put the poison in bait stations that can keep the toxins away from unintended targets such as kids, dogs, cat, chickens, goats and pigs. I always use the least toxic means available. For the most part waiting a bit will allow nature to solve the problem. The major exceptions for me have been rodents and ants.
One of the greatest indicators of the health of a garden is the spiders. Because they eat other insects the toxins can be concentrated in their bodies. It is said that a messed up spider will make a messy web
Critters in the Garden
Honeybees * Apis mellifera
California Gardens Butterfly List
Anicia Checkerspot * Euphydryas anicia
Anise Swallowtail * Papilio zelicaon
California Dogface * Zerene eurydice
California Sister Butterfly * Adelpha bredowii
Common Buckeye * Junonia coenia
Dwarf Yellow Sulfur * Nathalis iole
Fiery Skipper * Hylephila phyleus
Gray Hairstreak * Strymon melinus
Gulf Fritillary * Agraulis vanillae
Lorquin's Admiral * Basilarchia lorquini
Lupine Blue * Plebejus lupini
Marine Blue * Leptotes marina
Monarch Butterfly * Danaus plexippus, (Butterfly, Caterpillar and egg)
Mournful Duskywing * Erynnis tristis
Mourning Cloak * Nymphalis antiopa
Painted Lady * Vanessa cardui
Pale Tiger Swallowtail * Papilio eurymedon
Pipevine Swallowtail * Battus philenor
Red Admiral * Vanessa atlanta
Sara Orangetip * Anthocharis sara
Spring Azure * Celastrina ladon
Variable Checkerspot * Euphydryas chalcidona
Western Tiger Swallowtail * Papilio rutulus
Ornate Tiger Moth * Apantesis ornata
Great Ash Sphinx * Sphinx chersis
Jumping Spider * Salticidae
Lynx Spider * Peucetia viridans
Other Cool Stuff
Asian Ladybug Larvae * Harmonia axyridis
Bluet Damselfly * Enallagma civile
Brown Prionid * Orthosoma brunneum
Decollate Snail * Rumina decollata
Green Lacewing * Chrysoperla rufilabris
California Praying Mantis * Stagmomantis californica
California Gardens Pest Pages
Planaria * Bipalium kewense
Glassy Winged Sharpshooter * Homalodisca vitripennis